the couple i just picked up smell like sex. they want to go to masab tank from marredpally. the woman has jasmine in her hair and the man has his shirt buttoned wrong. they talk to me in broken hindi, but i keep it up. it's entertaining to hear their funny accent. i turn on the meter and start to drive. they have three big suitcases with them. they seem content just holding hands. i miss that. i feel like it has been centuries since i've done that with someone.

most people forget i'm in the auto when they're talking to each other. they forget that i'm close to them and i can probably hear everything. i could just as well be invisible, and it might not make a difference to them. parents quarrel with their children, couples make conversation about mahesh babu, friends talk about which movie to watch at imax. in the old days, i could judge where they would want to go and whether they would haggle over the price. i used to be able to tell what they bought at general bazaar and how much they paid for vegetables at monda market. nowadays, these multiplexes are too crowded and there are too many supermarkets.

i think these two were eloping. the boy was telling the girl about how he'd take care of her for all her life, and she was saying that she'd completely cut herself away from her parents. he promised he'd give their children a good life and she was saying that she'd take up a job as soon as she finishes college. they didn't seem worried, not a frown on their foreheads, not a crease on their brow. in matters of the heart, always follow the heart, i used to say back then. it wasn't a romantic piece of advice, it was the practical thing to say. dealing with heartbreak is always more difficult than dealing with physical pain. the broken hearted are always easy to make out. they look lost and sound distant, their laughter is generally empty and their eyes are always hollow. i always avoid those.

i would have told them as much, if i didn't feel like minding my own business. i would have told them about the exhilaration that love offers, the liveliness of the breath after a kiss, the satisfaction of knowing that they can make decisions that can change their lives. promises for life, hearts intact, being awake, being alive, these are things i'm skeptical of now. i'm not sure if i'm the right person to give lectures about these things, or bother thinking about them. advice is a form of nostalgia, they say, and for an old zombie like me, life is a form of nostalgia. i dropped them off at masab tank, collected my fare and went on my way.


thanks s, for the idea for a story. it's all in the hair, really.


The Wabbster said...

Nice! :)

A Chrysanthemum by any other name... said...

i like

Sita said...

long time :)
thank you!